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Ghost sightings have been reported in many castles and manor houses. Few old castles do not boast the shade of a jilted lover tumbling from the battlements, a ghostly White Lady, a demonic Monk who vanishes if challenged, a poltergeist, a headless phantom, a spectral coach and horses or disembodied wailing. An especially common theme is that of a victim walled up alive within the castle, whose ghost haunts the castle for centuries afterwards, until the victim's body is found and properly buried. Some stories tend to be regional - spectral pipers on the ramparts of Scottish castles or demonic Black Dogs known as Shucks in the South of England.

Stories of supernatural omens are attached to many castles and the families that own them, generally warning of a forthcoming death in the family, sometimes specifically the lord, chatelain or clan chief. The omen typically takes the form of an unusual animal such as a white deer, a white owl, or a white fox.

In Scotland over a dozen castles claim the ghost of Mary Queen of Scots. In England several castles claim royal ghosts including the Tower of London, Windsor Castle and Berkeley Castle. Many of the best stories have an historical events underpinning them: often an execution or a murder, with supporting detail such as names and dates. There are also a smaller number of reported supernatural creatures that inhabit castles: fairies, banshees and goblins; giants and vampires, and elemental sprites. There are also a large number of ancient legends and curses associated with castles.

On the right you can select ghost hauntings associated with castles in particular countries, or those of a particular type (ghosts, omens, poltergeists, legends, etc). You can also select the best ghost hauntings selected by the webmaster.

These are all well-known and widely reported supernatural visitations. The webmaster (a rationalist) does not warrant the factual accuracy of any of them.

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Aberglasney House      Carmarthen, Dyfed, Wales
Omen, Five Candles      
In the 1630's a maid saw five candles floating around one of the rooms in the castle. The next day, 5 maid servents were found dead in their beds. A stove left burning overnight had asphyxiated them. Flickering of candles became an omen for impending death in the household. Some believe that the death of the maids caused a curse upon the household.

Airlie Castle      Airlie, Angus, Scotland
Omen, The Doom of Airlie Castle      
This harbinger of doom takes the form of a ram that walks around the gardens prior to disaster. A drumming sound is also reported to herald a death in the family.

Arundel Castle      Arundel, Sussex, England
Omen, Small White Bird      
A ghostly small white bird is seen fluttering around the windows of the castle before the death of a resident of the castle and its appearance is regarded as an omen that tragedy will strike someone connected to the castle.

Barnbougle Castle      Cramond, Edinburgh , Lothian, Scotland
Omen, Howling Dog      
This dog accompanied his master to the Crusades. Spectral howling was first heard at the castle when his owner died on the battlefield, and is heard again prior to death of the laird of the castle.

Brodick Castle      Isle of Arran, Ayrshire, Scotland
Omen, White Deer      
a White Deer is seen in the grounds of the castle whenever a chief of the Hamilton clan is close to death. The white deer appeared twice in the twentieth century, both times coinciding with the death of the head of the Hamilton Family.

Caerphilly Castle      Caerphilly, Caerphilly, Wales
Omen, Hag      
The de Clare family were haunted by a Gwrach-y-rhibyn, warning them of an imminent death in the family. Since they moved away, the ghost is seen - drifting towards the castle. It disappears once it reaches the ruins

Caister Castle      Caister-On-Sea, Norfolk, England
Omen, Coachÿ      
A horse drawn hearse driven by a headless horseman passes through the gates of the castle and circles the courtyard seven times to warn of the encroaching death of a family member.

Cardiff Castle      Cardiff, , Wales
Omen, Sound of a coach      
A horse drawn coach is heard when a member of the Hastings family is about to die at the castle. It was last heard by John Boyle, the night his cousin the Marquis of Hastings died.

Closeburn Castle      Closeburn , Dumfries and Galloway), Scotland
Omen, Bleeding Swan      
Prior to death in the Kirkpatrick family. Swans once brought peace and happiness here, until one was killed by a family member. Now, family death is heralded when a swan appears with a red-stained breast.

Cortachy Castle      Kirriemuir, Angus, Scotland
Omen, Drummer      
Caught having an affair with the wife of the castle's owner, a drummer was placed in his own drum and rolled out from a tower. On the verge of dying he cursed all future generations who would live at the castle. His ghostly drum can be heard beating before a death in the family.

Crom Castle      Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Ireland
Omen, White Light of Crom      
This glowing ball of light rolls around the castle lake, marking a important events which will affect the whole of Ireland.

Dean Castle      Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland
Omen, Rolling Head      
On 18 August 1745 a female servant in the building once saw the decapitated head of William Boyd, 4th Earl of Kilmarnock, her master, roll across the floor in front of her, even though he was still alive and well in another part of the building. Soon afterwards the earl joined the unsuccessful '45 Jacobite uprising. He was was beheaded in the Tower of London on 18 August 1746, exactly a year after the premonition.

Duart Castle      Isle of Mull, Argyll and Bute, Scotland
Omen, Headless Ghost      
Prior to a death in the MacLean family a decapitated figure on horseback is seen. The figure is reputed to be the ghost of a man executed by the MacLean family.

Dunstaffgne (or Dunstaffnage) Castle      Oban, Argyll, Scotland
Omen, Glaistig      
The Glaistig is a fairy-like entity attached to the Campbell nobility. She bursts into song, cheers when good news is to be heard, and cries when bad news is to be heard. The Glaistig has not been heard since the castle burnt down.

Fyvie Castle      Fyvie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Omen, Lady in Green      
A green lady, is seen and not heard as she drifts down the corridors to the 'Murder Room' always presaging a death in the family at the castle.

Fyvie Castle      Fyvie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Omen, Andrew Lammie      
The ghost of Andrew Lammie blows a single long note on his instrument as a death approaches the family.

Gormanston Castle      Gormanston, County Meath, Ireland
Omen, Foxes      
Whenever all the local foxes gather at the front door of the castle, a death of a death of a Viscount Gormanston.will occur soon after.

Howth Castle      Howth, County Dublin, Ireland
Omen, White Rat      
This ghostly white rat appears whenever misfortune or evil threatens the House of St Lawrence.

Inveraray Castle       Inveraray, Argyll and Bute, Scotland
Omen, Ghost      
A ghost appears at the castle when a Campbell chief is close to death.

Kilcosgriff Castle      Kilcosgriff, County Limerick, Ireland
Omen, Lady in White      
The wife of a former Lord Langford, the ghost of this lady appears prior to a death in the Langford family

Leeds Castle      Maidstone, Kent, England
Omen, Shuck      
A Shuck (a Black Dog) appears as an omen of death, but this shuck once saved the life of a woman. She was sitting in a bay window when she saw it, and jumped away. Within seconds the wall with the window collapsed into the moat.

Leeds Castle      Maidstone, Kent, England
Omen, Shuck      
Prior to a death or grave misfortune the shuck (a black dog) apprears. This shuck is an ill omen only for those live at the castle.

Moy Castle      Island of Mull, Argyll and Bute, Scotland
Omen, Bean-nighe      
The Bean-nighe is a Scottish spirit, an ill bringer who would be seen washing the clothes of those soon to die. This creature has long breasts, slung over her shoulders, and if one was grabbed from behind she would tell to whom the clothes belonged. If they were yours, she could change your fate. The laird of the castle, upon seeing the creature, tried to grab her but failed and died in battle the following day

Noltland Castle      Pierowall, Orkney, Scotland
Omen, Shuck      
Forthcoming deaths at the castle ar announced by the howls of a large black dog.

Noltland Castle      Pierowall, Orkney, Scotland
Omen, Spectral Light      
The castle was owned by the Balfour family. A ghostly light flickering at the castle window still shines when a birth or death occurs in the Balfour family.

Nottingham Castle      Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England
Omen, Countess of Nottingham      
The gallery is haunted by the hhost of the Countess of Nottingham. She appears to people who will die within a year.

Old Wardour Castle      Wardour, Wiltshire, England
Omen, White Owls      
The Arundell family are haunted by ghostly white owls, which appear prior to a death in the family.

Pitcaple Castle      Pitcaple, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Omen, Robin      
To find a robin perched within the castle walls is considered the ultimate in misfortune, as it denotes a family death.

Castle Stalker      Loch Linnhe, Argyll, Scotland
Omen, Hovering Light      
Prior to a death of a Stewart chieftain, ann orb of brilliant light hovers over the castle

St Donats Castle      St Donats, South Glamorgan, Wales
Omen, Old Hag      
The apparition is seen, looking like an old hag. This spectre heralds a death in the family much like a banshee, wailing in the night and scratching at windows.

Warwick Castle      Warwick, Warwickshire, England
Omen, The Dun Cow      
The phantom 'Dun Cow of Warwick' appears at the castle a few weeks before a death in the family.


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